This Veterans Day the, congressionally-charted commission that oversees military cemeteries, memorials and markers will dedicate two new pavilions at the Honolulu Memorial as part of the annual ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
“This is especially appropriate as the United States starts it’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War,” said American Battle Monuments Commission Secretary Max Cleland, a former senator from Georgia and a decorated Vietnam Veteran.
One of the pavilions will specifically commemorate those Americans who served in the Vietnam War, he said. The ceremony is scheduled for at 10:00 a.m. Hawaiian time and will feature and address by Sen. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D.-Hawaii) serving as the Keynote speaker. Akaka served in the Army Corps of Engineers in World War II.
“The new Vietnam War Pavilion combined with the current Vietnam War Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial constitutes the only memorial to veterans of the Vietnam War built solely with federal funds,” Cleland said.
Located on the grounds of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the Honolulu Memorial was dedicated in 1966 to honor the sacrifices and achievements of American’s armed forces in the Pacific during World War II and the Korean War, he said.
Established by Congress in 1923, the American Battle Monuments Commission commemorates the service, achievements and sacrifice of U.S. armed forces. ABMC administers 24 overseas military cemeteries, and 25 memorials, monuments and markers.
The memorial grew in 1980 to include the missing of the Vietnam War. As part of the memorial, there are large mosaic maps explaining the major military campaigns in the Pacific during World War II and Korea. This year, two mosaic maps will be added to complete the memorial and help tell the story of those Americans who served in Vietnam.
The two mosaic maps show the overall theater of the Vietnam War and the sites of major battles fought during the conflict. The mosaic maps are unique works of art keeping in tradition with the World War II and Korean War maps at the memorial.
The method used to produce the mosaics utilizes a variety of cements, pigments, ground glass and sand to replicate the mosaic maps constructed in the 1960’s.
The maps will be housed in one of two pavilions constructed from Travertine stone quarried from Idaho. The second new pavilion will house porcelain panels depicting ABMC commemorative sites in the Pacific and providing an orientation to the Honolulu Memorial. The Honolulu District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed the $5.2 million construction project for ABMC.
“This memorial would not be possible without the hard work of all government agencies and private contractors involved who worked tirelessly to ensure project completion for Veterans Day,” said Cleland.
“We at the American Battle Monuments Commission are proud of the new additions to the Honolulu Memorial and feel the additions appropriately commemorate and honor America’s Vietnam War Veterans,” he said.